14 Aug2007

brazo1

Okay, let’s start with the humor. Get a grip folks, this is not a flattering name for a dessert, no matter how you look at it. For me, it evokes the upper arm of an older mother or aunt where the skin is kinda soft and pulpy and clearly has never seen the inside of a gym. If the arms are held high to clap, the skin hanging below the bone flaps, and if really bad, could act as small sails in a strong wind. Hello, how unappetizing a vision is that? :) And why is this gender specific? Couldn’t this just as amusingly be named Hita ni Ramon, Procopio or Sebastian? Just make the roll bigger. Hahaha. As a kid, I disliked Brazo de Mercedes with a passion. I distinctly recall eating a badly made one where the eggwhitey outer layer smelled and tasted seriously eggy, and like a bad egg at that. Then there was the oozy rich yema-ish filling. Uugghh. But my mom loved this dessert and could easily eat a whole one (have you noticed how bloody long Mercedes’ brazo must have been?) in a day, if left to her own devices. She was friends with a Spanish lady (whose name I don’t recall, but it wasn’t Mercedes, Volkswagen or Jaguar), who owned a nearby bakery, and that is where she got her brazo. I forgot about this dessert for a good 30 years until I started this blog, at which point readers have repeatedly hounded me for a version. Well, let me cut speculation right here…I don’t think I will ever bake one, but now I will certainly order one from one of several terrific sources in town…

brazo2

My mom passed away 11 years ago yesterday… and while she only met The Kid twice as a teeny tiny baby, she obviously passed on her love for Brazo de Mercedes, by mental telepathy to The Kid… Out of the blue, since we don’t normally have this dessert at home, in fact, never, The Kid states she just LOVES Brazo de Mercedes and she has been secretely getting her fill at a classmate’s home. So at the Pink Kitchen event last weekend, we were thrilled to come across Pixie Sevilla-Santos’ Forget Me Not stall and The Kid bought half a brazo to take home. I understand the Camara frozen brazo was also for sale in the same venue (I have tasted this at an eyeball before, yum) and the Vargas stall also had their version. At any rate, I was willing to re-try this childhood psychological nightmare to see if I could see it in a new light…

brazo3

Well, I must say, Pixie’s Brazo (called Brazo de Remedios) was very, very good. There was absolutely no eggy taste to the egg white portion and the filling of egg yolks and sugar were not sickeningly sweet. I quite liked this version and The Kid loved it. She even sprinkled it with more sugar to get a sweeter fix. It’s great to know that I can actually enjoy this dessert now with a cup of hot tea and while I personally don’t see it becoming my favorite, I can see why so many people do like it.

Pixie Sevilla-Santos
Forget Me Not Specialty Cakes
New Manila
02-723-2776

 

COMMENTS:

  1. smiles4angels says:

    well… my braso is that large and a little less softer :) and brazo de mercedes is one of the culprits. It’s sinful enough that no commercial version has popped up that every version of it is good. I wonder why it hasn’t got any other flavors like the puto?

    Aug 14, 2007 | 1:49 pm

     
  2. Hatari says:

    I’ve recently tried a Brazo cake…so it’s probably more appropriately called a torso (torzo?) de Mercedes. It’s not rolled like the traditional brazo..more like layered —a giant napoleon, if you will, with the brazo accouterments. My wife found it in this carrot cake place in White Plains. Quite good as brazos (torsos) go.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 1:56 pm

     
  3. Maria Clara says:

    Looks irresistible. The long life of brazo mercedes it has been around for awhile.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 2:51 pm

     
  4. rhea says:

    I’m also a brazo de mercedes addict! Whenever I eat it, it felt like sinking my teeth to a fluffy cloud.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 2:55 pm

     
  5. DADD-F says:

    I just love Brazo ni Mercedes! Hahaha…ay naku, I crave for it already. But as I’ve been practically around our beloved nation, the best brazo I’ve ever tasted was in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province. Not too sweet, not too dry, everything was just right! In fact, that little bakery of so many years was made popular by their brazo. But I do know that they use 10 egg yolks in their filling. Right from the owner’s mouth. The bakery’s name skips my memory just now. Give me a holler if anybody finds their way in Ipil and would like to try their brazo.

    You’d probably puke at my leche flan then MM. I love eggy leche flan. Mine is just that. Eggy and creamy with just the right partner, a luscious caramel made with muscovado sugar.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 3:18 pm

     
  6. CecileJ says:

    Love it!!!! Tasted a super yummy, bite-sized brazo (daliri? ) ni mercedes from a sweet shop in Cebu (name escapes me) and it was so good I handcarried several boxes back to Manila.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 3:19 pm

     
  7. belle says:

    Love this dessert to death!

    Aug 14, 2007 | 4:17 pm

     
  8. nang says:

    i was not a big brazo de mercedes fan until i tasted the vargas version about two years ago. until now, it is the only brazo that seems worth eating to me. too bad i wasn’t able to taste the pixie sevilla-santos version. maybe one of these days, i’ll hunt her down in new manila. hehe.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 4:24 pm

     
  9. Katrina says:

    I’m not a big fan of this dessert, either. I’ll eat it when served to me, but wouldn’t choose it. Most are dry or have too much merengue — obviously, I prefer the yema filling!Lately, though, I’ve tried several that I love: the Vargas Brazo (lots of yema!), the layer cake-shaped (“torso”, as Hatari said above) one from the carrot cake place in QC, and Dimpy Camara’s Frozen Brazo. A small restaurant on Valero used to have a delicious melt-in-your-mouth, rectangular-shaped version called Brazo de la Reina, but I don’t see it anymore. MM, how is Brazo de Remedios different from Brazo de Mercedes?

    smiles4angels — Dulcinea used to have mocha and chocolate flavors of Brazo. My Brazo-loving brother sometimes used to get the mocha as an alternative to the regular kind.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:06 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Katrina, I am not a brazo expert, but I think it’s just a name change…looks like a normal brazo to me… but a good one. :)

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:09 pm

     
  11. Mandy says:

    that looks really good! i love brazo but i’ve never tried making it. my mom used to make when we were still kids but her meringue would always split or break. she could not make it look like a log. any tips?

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:28 pm

     
  12. Teresa says:

    It’s my mom’s favorite too. I know what you mean Hitari. Something else can taste like Brazo but not exactly look like one. Maybe what you had was more to a cousin of Canonigo. A heavenly concoction of eggwhites topped with an egg yolk based sauce. Lovely!! Quite surprisingly the best one I tried was done by the cook in the Philippine Ambassador’s Residence in Netherlands. Be it Brazo or Canonigo…it does remind a lot of people of plesant childhood memories.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:38 pm

     
  13. millet says:

    my sister’s name is mercedez, so you can imagine the endless ribbing she got about her arms because of that. my brothers make a mean durian brazo, although they can’t keep it in the pastry shop because it will make everything else smell and taste durian. i’ve had very good brazo somewhere that had macapuno balls and strings in the eggyolk filling, too..outstanding…the macapuno provided a very good textural contrast.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:41 pm

     
  14. joey says:

    I’m not too fond of brazo either…i’m not a big egg white fan…i’m more an egg yolk person. Now, if they could just put the filling in a bowl and give me a spoon ;)

    Aug 14, 2007 | 6:33 pm

     
  15. Mangaranon says:

    Brazos is definitely one of my favorite desserts. Vargas kitchen makes delicious version — not the Goldilocks one. Goldilocks doesn’t get it at all. It has to be made with yolks and not condensed milk.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 6:46 pm

     
  16. Monchet says:

    I still haven’t tasted any Brazo better than the Vargas version. But I must also recommend my good friend Ana Marcos’ Frozen Brazo Layer Cake, with a cookie-crust base, a chewy but not too sweet brazo yema layer, a layer of ice-cream and brazo meringue on top.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 8:08 pm

     
  17. mikelinparis says:

    omg..grew up eating brazo. i remember really loving it. i have never liked anything too sweet, got that from my folks who didn’t either. so all kakanins/desserts came from sources who sweetened moderately. but i don’t recall brazos looking much like your pics..seems too merengue like and the gooey stuff to yellow.

    Aug 14, 2007 | 11:16 pm

     
  18. Jdawgg says:

    Hello Marketman,

    I got a new name for brazo de mercedez, why not call it “bil bil ni misis”.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 12:56 am

     
  19. pinky says:

    To jdawgg – Ouch!!!!

    Aug 15, 2007 | 3:49 am

     
  20. pinky says:

    All that bilbil is attributed to too much consumption of those Brazos :)

    Aug 15, 2007 | 4:23 am

     
  21. Marilou says:

    My mom loves this dessert too. Unfortunately it is not readily available here in the states so she hounds me about making it all the time. Personally I could think of lots more desserts I would rather eat, Brazo always has this weird mouth feel to me. Maybe I could give it another try next time I’m back there from one of the places you mentioned.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 4:52 am

     
  22. Bubut says:

    I wonder if Pixie Sevilla-Santos’ have a web site where I can order the brazos.
    I really enjoy your site, thank you for sharing all this info.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 7:05 am

     
  23. Cumin says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult for me to tell if a dish is really good if it’s mixed up with so many memories. And to me, a brazo de mercedes represents the years of staying at dorms in UP, where it was a staple pick me up after an exam.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 7:11 am

     
  24. Lissa says:

    I’d like to try the Vargas brazo, too. Can anyone share with me how I can get it? I’m not really a big brazo fan but I sometimes come across ones that I like. I’ve tried Dimpy’s and it was good, but it was also quite sweet. I could only eat a small slice, but it was perfect to share with officemates at our pantry. = )

    Aug 15, 2007 | 8:52 am

     
  25. Mila says:

    Lissa, I just saw the Vargas stand in Glorietta 4′s Food court. They sell the butter cake, brazo, chocolate refrigerator cake. Didn’t see their bibingka. You can also buy at Salcedo market every Saturday.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 9:03 am

     
  26. Alicia says:

    Lissa, You can order and pick up the Vargas Brazo at 810-7529. My appreciation for Brazo has been limited to Mrs. Vargas and Dimpy Camara’s frozen version. Will make it a point to try Pixie’s soon.

    Aug 15, 2007 | 11:12 am

     
  27. Candygirl says:

    You guys should try it. The filling is so good. Ok, no more plugs – Pixie doesn’t know me but it’s the best Brazo for me. For those who are near Eastwood/Libis, her shop Forget Me Not is right below Hot Rocks in the lot (the one with clubsixfifty (?) badminton court) beside Shopwise. Enjoy!

    Aug 15, 2007 | 2:01 pm

     
  28. teny says:

    I tried somewhere a brazo de mercedes which had ube as the filling instead of yema. good also.

    Aug 16, 2007 | 10:49 am

     
  29. Sydney BR says:

    Brazo de Mercedez! That’s how I refer to my own arms =) Seriously, my faves are the: (1) Vargas version [at one catered lunch at my office, we all headed for the Vargas brazo first to make sure it wouldn't run out by the time we were done with our entrees]; and (2)the frozen Camara brazo — the first time I tasted it was like an epiphany!! Too bad I didn’t see their stalls at Pink Kitchen. It was way too crowded when we went. Hope there will be a repeat next year (and the years after). Reminds me of this fundraiser held at ISM some years back where we paid a fixed fee (P600?) to sample all the goodies prepared by the ISM parents. Oh what a night!

    Aug 18, 2007 | 9:36 am

     
  30. sister says:

    I haven’t made one in 30 years but I made more than a few for Mom before you were born. I used a lot of rhum to flavour the filling and topped the meringue with shaved almonds before baking for a more interesting texture and appearance. Kind of an arm with scales, like an armadillo’s… not in my top ten favorite desserts.

    Aug 19, 2007 | 9:10 am

     
  31. Candygirl says:

    Hey Teny, I’ve tried the brazo with ube filling too. It came all the way from Zamboanga. The same bakery who makes Mango Jubilee – Layers of brazo-like meringue with a yema filling and mangoes – yumyum.

    Aug 19, 2007 | 11:09 am

     
  32. Heather says:

    The Brazo cake at La Marea in Lahug is possibly the best dessert in existence. In a span of a week and a half, I had at least 4. They’re not rolled, but rather constructed like a Napoleon. Plus they drizzle some awesome caramel stuff on top.

    Aug 30, 2007 | 10:41 pm

     
  33. Mary-Ann Evangelista says:

    My sister makes a good version of this cake on occasions.
    The name really sounds classy as long as you don’t understand spanish. Looking at the first pix above, i suddenly remembered my lola- and the story about Inang’s flabby arms. When my little daughter first saw my grandma, she couldn’t help but touch her flabby arms. We all had a laugh when she tried
    to talk tagalog and said, Oh! cooool!
    “Nang-nang’s laylay” is fun! She was just 2.
    Still,she’s never forgotten her and her jiggly arms.

    Sep 6, 2007 | 4:03 pm

     
  34. petit a petit says:

    i once caught my little sister eating brazo under our dining table. we didn’t let her eat another serving during lunch so while everyone was taking a nap on a lazy sunday afternoon, she sneaked into the kitchen and got the box from the fridge. in the dark, under a table, she consumed the remaining brazo.

    Sep 7, 2007 | 11:23 am

     
  35. cj says:

    i cook brazo for the family, until my sister come, she is 3months pregnant,the brazo is not yet ready to serve my sister was waiting outside the oven then i get it out & put in a table to make it cold, i go out in the kitchen & my sister left their in the kitchen when i come back,i was shocked! she finished the cake! & all the family laugh at her, & now she born a baby girl they called it “mercedes” it was most embarrasing moment for my sisiter………….

    Oct 2, 2007 | 12:37 pm

     
  36. Tanny says:

    Helloooooo! You guys have yet to try Symphony Sweets’ Brazo de Mercedes…. at Salcedo Market in Makati City….

    There is nothing like it and I have yet to try a brazo better than this….

    Enough said…

    Jan 13, 2008 | 8:13 pm

     
  37. amy says:

    i saw ur frozen braso layer cake in magazines and it seems so delicious and good to taste.can i hav the recipe,pls?im 7 mos.pregnant and it seems pinaglilihian ko!reply asap b4 i labor!thanx

    Feb 22, 2008 | 12:56 pm

     
  38. Chef Pixie says:

    Hi there Market Manila! This is Chef Pixie, the owner of Forget Me Not Specialty cakes. I would want to thank you for the nice write up about our Brazo de Remedios. Kindly inform your avid readers that our cake counter in Hot Rocks will be closing soon and effective Monday, March 24, 2008, our new branch in New Manila is opening. It will be selling both slices and wholes too but the venue is much smaller than Hot Rocks. They can reach us at 7232776. Thanks so much Market Manila and more power to you!

    Mar 21, 2008 | 10:54 am

     
  39. tricia says:

    I LOVE BRASO DE MERCEDES CAN ANYONE GIVE ME THE RECIPES PLEASE

    May 31, 2008 | 12:35 pm

     
  40. dragon says:

    Pretty easy to make–most recipes online will do. I personally cut down the sugar: don’t want it too sweet. Nakakaumay. Better to be able to eat several slices.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 3:33 pm

     
  41. mishell says:

    hi… im a brazo de mercedes addict too!!! i really love it…
    I just had one problem I dont know how to do It..hehehhe!!! can u please send me the recipe and procedure of it…tnx!!!*_*

    Jul 14, 2008 | 12:36 pm

     
  42. Felicidad Babasol says:

    Please send me Recipe Brazo de Mercedes i want to cook but we have not guide on how to bake.Thanks

    Jul 25, 2008 | 8:36 am

     
  43. yan onazol says:

    hi Im YAN!… way down here from Pagadian City.Juz this morning I baked a very yummee Brazo de Mercedes..Although the meringue went sticky a bit, but it ended up with a taste like you would wanna get nuts in the next few mins.I used yolk-condensed-lemon flava for the filling and maybe next time ill try to play with mango,ube,grapes…i dont know how it’ll taste but ill keep an update of the outcome here!
    I have an exlusive page for my cakes & pastries at friendster.You can check it out or email me.

    Aug 15, 2008 | 4:10 pm

     
  44. Ei says:

    whatever, ever… comments everybody gives about brazo de mercedes its unbeatable…actually its one my top ten!!

    Aug 19, 2008 | 9:32 pm

     
  45. Marie Sharon says:

    Hi. I love Brazo so much and was so excited when I found this blog. Thanks so much for starting it. I had to learn how to make it coz I’m in Africa and have nowhere to buy it here. I’ve made variations on the filling by adding roasted cashew, or walnuts, or pecan nuts, all of which have received positive feedback from my husband, mother in law (that should mean it’s very good!), and friends. Indeed, the recipe calls for 10 eggs! I cut the sugar down by 1/4 cup as the original was too sweet. There are lots of mangos here but not the same as our Manggang kalabaw, so I have not experimented with that. I might try langka and let you know the results. I also go home to the Philippines once in a while but get too lazy to bake brazo coz it’s just a shop away to buy and not that expensive. That said, I find it quick and easy to make Brazo so quite happy to share the recipe. Email me at marie_gc@yahoo.com. You may also want to check out the recipes on the web. I can also give some tips.
    Now I’m worried about my own flabby brazo. Gotta go and lift those dumbbells!

    Oct 25, 2008 | 3:39 pm

     
  46. connie says:

    I am just amazed how this recipe could make us laugh while reading every bodys comment, and it reminded me of my college life. While I was in college, our group made this brazo de mercedes as one of our dessert. After we finished baking and eating, our group concluded that the recipe had the perfect name due to the process of beating the egg whites; we did not have an electric egg beater, so you can imagine how tiring for our arms to take turns in beating the egg whites until it reaches to its foam. Ever since my college life, I have never made brazo de ‘what ever” you named it after its tedious work; actually it’s a good work out for the flabby arms…hahha.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 5:19 am

     
  47. Maricel Falqueza says:

    Hi I have four kids they love braso de mercedes, but my problem is i don’t known how to make it , can you please me send me a recipe, we are leaving her in new zealand for about five months we move her bec. for their future,but they are not quiet happy they miss some of our foods, malls etc.In nz the way of living is very simply like malls close at 6pm.Maybe as a mother making their favorite foods will make them very happy. thanks a lot. Chef Pixie Sevilla-Santos

    Mar 9, 2009 | 5:43 am

     
  48. Maricel Falqueza says:

    Hi this is Maricel Falqueza my email is gumbo_moa@yahoo.com

    Mar 9, 2009 | 5:46 am

     
  49. G@ttoGiallo says:

    I fell in love with brazo tonight !
    Maybe beginning to be hungry…
    I don’t especially like to prepare sweets, but with this I’m afraid I’ll be obliged to try and make it because I don’t think I can find it in Paris.

    Mar 10, 2009 | 12:12 pm

     
  50. elle says:

    I forgot my problem everytime i eat braso de mercedes!

    May 10, 2009 | 2:18 pm

     
  51. homt says:

    I used to be dependent on my sister’s brazo de mercedes only when she feels like making it. Because I crave for it a lot , I started making on my own, but the best so far I’ve tasted is one made by my high school classmate JD. She made it fo us during our high school reunion in Florida. It’s to live for.

    Sep 12, 2009 | 2:55 am

     
 

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